We had the opportunity to do another “Confident Christianity – Lite” conference recently, in Dundee. Our usual “Confident Christianity conferences”, draw on a speaking team from across the country, and usually large crowds for a full day event. The ‘lite’ version last only half a day, features only Solas in-house speakers and typically caters for smaller numbers.
We launched these ‘lite’ events in response to the needs of local churches who were not yet ready (post-Covid) to assemble large numbers of people in busy buildings for long periods of time; and for congregations who wouldn’t want to wear a face mask for a whole day! We’ve also found that these ’lite’ versions of our training conferences are easier for smaller fellowships to host.
This time we had the joy of returning to St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee – the place where Solas began and where several members of the team worship.
Andy Pearson, the new minister at St Peter’s welcomed everyone and kicked the morning off with an encouraging devotional message from Acts 13 in which Paul and Barnabas shared God’s word, saw opposition and God working to save people – and knew joy in the work of evangelism.
Solas’s Andy Bannister then led the folks at St Peter’s through a crash-course in question-asking, conversational-evangelism; with a particular emphasis on the secular workplace. After a short break he then looked at the ever-difficult topic of ‘suffering’. This is something which both causes sceptics to resist God and can prevent Christians from sharing their faith and so it deserves some thought. Andy asked everyone to develop a response to suffering based on God’s revelation in Jesus Christ – who both knew suffering himself, and promises to ultimately save us and deliver us into an eternity free from pain.
Andy was then joined by his Solas colleague Gavin Matthews for a Q&A session at the end. There were some really insightful questions which required some theological wisdom and a pastoral sensitivity. Alongside questions on science and sexuality there were hard questions about those who die without ever putting their faith in Christ – as far as anyone knows. In his reply Andy explained that while we can’t be sure of where someone else stood before God in their last breaths, we can be right with God through Christ now – and that is the urgent thing today.
Will Lind, St Pete’s Associate Minister commented, “It was brilliant to have Andy and Gavin with us at St Peter’s. We gathered together the morning after storm Arwen hit Dundee and the two of them were certainly a breath of fresh air! As Christians we often find it hard to share our faith: we live in a challenging culture and often worry we won’t be able to answer the difficult questions our friends and family might ask. Andy showed us that sometimes the most helpful approach is to ask a question in response. Both taught us not just by what they said but how they said it: at the end of the morning, they dealt with some searching questions from the floor with a wonderful mix of humility, honesty and humour. As we left the conference, speaking about Jesus felt that little bit more possible than it did at the start.”
Solas’s evangelism-training can be tailored to suit any church. We are still more than happy to do our full-day conferences to large audiences with a team of speakers. Equally we love doing these smaller events, in half-days, with a small team. It really is all about serving the needs of the local church. Please do contact us to discuss how we could help your church; or all the churches in your town, in encouraging, and equipping in evangelism today.